Author Topic: The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....  (Read 2580 times)

Offline Carl

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The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....
« on: November 11, 2015, 09:15:44 AM »
I often am asked what is the best antenna and really can give no solid answer....you see,many factors come into play with such 'open ended' criteria. When things like PURPOSE.BUDGET,Visual appeal,and area of operation are added ,many answers change with each new answer.

PURPOSE...well it's to talk...as far as I can...Many factors come into distance...primary is band of operation. For VHF/UHF there is nothing that improves distance of operation like HEIGHT ABOVE TERRAIN and the GAIN. Gain is often misunderstood because an antenna does not amplify your signal without compromising it at the same time ..GAIN IS DIRECTIONAL...even when an onmi directional antenna has gain ...it is at some cost to radiation in angle of incidence ...not much loss on VHF/UHF ...but HF depends on angle to work.

  An HF ,angle of incidence plays a part in your area of use for the HF radio for while HF works for thousands of miles as it reflects to earth off the ionosphere...it can rarely be heard at closer closer distances...That's right,VHF works to cover about 50 miles or so and HF will work from 500 to 1000's of miles...HF is not good at 100 to 500 miles without some planing ahead and good antenna design for NVIS.

 http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=54596.0


A good NVIS antenna is good for more than 'local' area HF as a large component of it's signal is at a good angle for DX ,or distance use while a higher antenna is rarely good for NVIS or local use....that's right ,an NVIS antenna is just lower to the ground than a distance antenna and for preparedness use an antenna that works BOTH local and distance can be ideal.

An HF antenna can be most any conductor as long as it is at least a quarter wave long and either "TUNED" to one band or ,with use of a tuner...tuned to work many bands. The HF bands are multiple frequencies of each other and a 'cut to length' or tuned antenna is resonant and has low SWR for the area of one band it is cut for and needs no TUNER. The TUNER actually adjusts the antenna system to match the radio output requirement to the antenna so as not to damage the radio (it does NOT tune the antenna)

  An antenna tuner can match an antenna to most bands ,IF the antenna is not cut to match on one band as then it will have unlimited SWR to several other bands...THIS is where a RANDOM antenna is useful for many band operation.

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=55525.0

So ,if you use just ONE band ,then a single dipole or inverted "V" antenna is great...but ,If you want to use many bands ,the random tuned antenna excels.

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=53436.0

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=53469.0

I currently use a FAN DIPOLE, cut for 40,20,and 10 meters.BUT,the next change I make will be a modified ZEPPELIN antenna (harder to say than it is to make) and I will have more wire and effective gain on all bands 6 through 80 meters

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=53071.0



Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2015, 12:26:54 PM »

An antenna tuner can match an antenna to most bands ,IF the antenna is not cut to match on one band as then it will have unlimited SWR to several other bands...THIS is where a RANDOM antenna is useful for many band operation.

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=55525.0


This is on my to-do list.  There are a few bands I can't quite tune up, and my transceiver has two antenna jacks - which means this is meant to be :)

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 05:36:11 PM »
THIS is where a RANDOM antenna is useful for many band operation.
Random wires are good, cheap fun.  I'm going to have to do some testing for 80m NVIS this winter, between a random wire and a resonant dipole.  I'll bet there won't be more than an S-unit's difference.

Offline Carl

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Re: The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2015, 08:08:19 AM »
Random wires are good, cheap fun.  I'm going to have to do some testing for 80m NVIS this winter, between a random wire and a resonant dipole.  I'll bet there won't be more than an S-unit's difference.

But you will get less stray RF in the house with a balanced antenna like dipole , "V" or inverted "V" 

I like the simplicity of the ZEP for temporary/quick install as it needs little setup or support and soes do NVIS well.

Offline Carl

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Re: The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 08:15:27 AM »
This is on my to-do list.  There are a few bands I can't quite tune up, and my transceiver has two antenna jacks - which means this is meant to be :)

Read Canadian Preps ZEP transformation for some interesting detail ...and remember that RANDOM WIRE has finite windows of operation.

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=53436.0

http://udel.edu/~mm/ham/randomWire/

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2015, 04:56:11 PM »
But you will get less stray RF in the house with a balanced antenna like dipole , "V" or inverted "V" 
Mmmm, yeah, that can be a problem.  I'm lucky in that my shack desk is up against the window pass-through so I've only got about 6" of antenna actually in the house.  Across the room... not so good.  Also, it takes a substantial RF ground system for for a random wire to push against.

Offline Canadian Prepper

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Re: The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2015, 05:07:02 PM »
Read Canadian Preps ZEP transformation for some interesting detail ...and remember that RANDOM WIRE has finite windows of operation.

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=53436.0

http://udel.edu/~mm/ham/randomWire/

Incidentally, I was just at my local ham radio shop asking one of the experts there about some additional antenna options, and aside from trying to see if I can install another one of my dipoles up higher or getting a magnetic loop antenna in the event that I need to move to a restricted spot, he insisted that I didn't need any of the other antennas I was asking about.

I've been playing around with the idea of putting up some other antennas as a wintertime project, but it's hard to find anything that would work better!

Offline Carl

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Re: The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2015, 05:17:02 PM »
Incidentally, I was just at my local ham radio shop asking one of the experts there about some additional antenna options, and aside from trying to see if I can install another one of my dipoles up higher or getting a magnetic loop antenna in the event that I need to move to a restricted spot, he insisted that I didn't need any of the other antennas I was asking about.

I've been playing around with the idea of putting up some other antennas as a wintertime project, but it's hard to find anything that would work better!

Adding a vertical component to the antenna you now use will help with take-off angle some , but location and propagation are the
biggest effect that we have little ,or no,control over...the fact is ,we are at or near a low point of the solar cycle for propagation.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2015, 07:46:24 PM »
Has this been posted before?  It's making the rounds over at PreparedHam, and it's like the whole damn zoo of HF wire antennas: http://www.n4lcd.com/wireantennas/  There's 141 of the wirey things.  It's a shame there weren't 3 more, then they'd have a gross.

Scroll through the designs for long enough and you'll start to see patterns.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 08:01:03 PM by Alan Georges »

Offline Carl

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Re: The BEST Ham antenna, OR ...I am at a crossroads.....
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2015, 07:11:12 AM »
Has this been posted before?  It's making the rounds over at PreparedHam, and it's like the whole damn zoo of HF wire antennas: http://www.n4lcd.com/wireantennas/  There's 141 of the wirey things.  It's a shame there weren't 3 more, then they'd have a gross.

Scroll through the designs for long enough and you'll start to see patterns.
While a ZEP(elin) antenna may appear a new concept,the root antenna was developed in the early days of radio.
The 'NEW' concept is people learning again that an antenna does not have to be resonant to radiate OR
a tuned antenna is only 'tuned' to match the radio impedance and not the frequency,
SWR IS NOT A FACTOR OF ANTENNA EFFECTIVENESS...only radio impedance matching.
Wire is easy to find and use and most important ...it is a low cost antenna and often way more effective than the aluminium 'yard art'
with it's over inflated 'Gain' figures and undersized radiators.